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Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin to Star in 'Roots'

A+E Networks has cast Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin to star in its reboot of 1970s miniseries Roots, the company said Wednesday.

Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) will star as Fiddler, a mentor to Roots main character Kunta Kinte in the mini-series remake, said network officials. Pacquin (True Blood) will play the wife of a Confederate officer who has her own agenda when it comes to the handling of slaves.

Also starring in the miniseries will be Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors) Anika Noni Rose (Dream Girls, The Good Wife, The Princess and the Frog), Chad L. Coleman (The Walking Dead, The Wire), Erica Tazel (Justified) and Derek Luke (Captain America: The First Avenger, Antwone Fisher)

Newcomers Malachi Kirby and Regé-Jean Page  (Survivor, Waterloo) will star as main characters Kunta Kinte and Chicken George respectively, said A+E.

They new castmembers join previously announced Laurence Fishburne (Black-ish) as Alex Haley, the author of the novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.